And then there is another side of Ronita – founder of Sports Explorer in Los Angeles, a USTA Community Tennis Association. The Mission of the organization is to be a “…champion for active and healthy communities of all ages and backgrounds through athleticism and wellness education. “ The founder’s vision for this non-profit organization is to provide a healthy footprint in the community and promote a “conscious pursuit of a healthy lifestyle for all.”
Ronita’s premise is that the L.A. High Schools are not a healthy environment for kids and what is needed are healthy activities to create a positive, nurturing, stimulating, and livable community. Her vehicle for achieving that goal is the sport of tennis. Since 1999, when Sports Explorer was established, the organization has evolved from bringing tennis to kids at High Schools to involving adults and whole families in the healthy tennis lifestyle. Teaching tennis to kids at the Crenshaw High School is still their largest program, but the organization is participating in adult World Team Tennis, organizes its annual “Taste of Tennis” fundraiser extravaganza in May, and is enjoying a long standing partnership with local tournaments.
The annual BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA plays a special role in those partnerships because as the 5th largest tournament in the world it lends itself to playing a special role in the fundraising strategy of Sports Explorer. The local LA tournament, Farmers Classic, is also playing a big role in the programs of Sports Explorer.
Many High School juniors volunteer for “A Taste of Tennis”, Sports Explorer’s Annual National Tennis Month Celebration and Scholarship Fundraiser. They will be candidates for the Sports Explorer Scholarship as members of the Crenshaw High School Senior Leadership Team. The requirements are volunteering and participation at A Taste of Tennis with their family members at the active living community event.
Ronita Elder is also trying to reach adults who want to play tennis. She is quoted as saying “Southern California is thirsty for tennis”. More and more adults see the health benefits of tennis as a sport and a lifestyle. Sportsexplorer.com states that “Sports Explorer believes in the power to change lives through sports and nutrition at any point in your life.” If money wasn’t an object, Ronita would carry that message all over the world. Going global is her dream and she has already taken groups of tennis players to Brazil and China, where they played in events like the Bejing Senior Open.